French Broad Taqueria: Marshall’s top taco joint is going from cozy to cosmopolitan with a revitalization loan from the Land-of-Sky Regional Council. The loan will allow owners Heather Brown and Amy Newton to expand their locally sourced café from 18 seats to 40, including a sure-to-be-lovely outdoor-seating area. If area residents’ adoration of the eatery is any indication, the new seats are bound to fill up fast. French Broad Taqueria, at 32 Main St., is open every day but Monday, 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Asheville Independent Restaurant Association: The skyrocketing cost of food will likely seem far less troubling to the lucky winner of the Asheville Independent Restaurant Association’s recently announced “Eat Free for a Year” fundraising raffle. In exchange for buying a $10 ticket, the raffle winner will receive gifts certificates for six breakfasts, 26 lunches and 25 dinners for two at AIR-member restaurants—totaling $2,500 worth of good eats. The certificates are issued in varying amounts, ranging from $10 for breakfast at Drinkin’ Beanz to $150 for dinner at Grove Park Inn’s Horizons. Proceeds from the program will be used to fund AIR’s operations and its “Chefs of Tomorrow” Foundation. Tickets may be purchased through Sept. 5 at Pack Place, Bouchon, Café on the Square, City Bakery, Grove Park Inn, Fig, Fiores, Frankie Bones, Grovewood Café, Hannah Flanagan’s Irish Pub and The Lobster Trap. For more information, e-mail email@example.com.
Buy Haywood: Whole Foods customers in Winston-Salem and the Raleigh-Durham area can now buy Haywood County tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers, thanks to a partnership forged between the leading organic grocer and the Buy Haywood marketing program. “We’re thrilled to link up with such a strong leader in the retail marketplace,” Buy Haywood marketing specialist Bryan Sullivan said in a release. According to the release, Whole Foods reps toured a Bethel farm before starting serious negotiations at a Whole Foods Market summit in Raleigh. “This is very exciting news for our participating farmers,” Sullivan said. Buy Haywood is a project of the Haywood County Economic Development Commission, supported by a grant from the Golden LEAF Foundation.
Old South Cakes: Carol Moore is going to town with her pound cakes, having recently relocated her operation to downtown Black Mountain. “With my youngest child now starting kindergarten, I’m ready to expand,” Moore explains in an e-mail. In addition to a plain pound cake—which Moore sells under the name “Best Pound Around”—Old South Cakes also offers lavender, pineapple, rum-pecan, coconut-lime and chocolate varieties. Moore says she’ll deliver the cakes locally or ship them further afield: “I’ve mailed to Iraq, so the USA is a breeze.” To learn more, call 664-0614.
Charlotte Shout: The schedule for the Queen City’s biggest annual culinary fest has been unveiled, and television personalities Cat Cora and Martin Yan are among the chefs slated to demonstrate their skills on the event’s mainstage. More than 25,000 people attended last year’s extravaganza on the Johnson & Wales’ campus at 801 W. Trade St. The event, which features wine and spirit tastings and samples from more than a dozen top local restaurants, is scheduled for Sept. 26 and 27. To learn more, visit www.charlotteshout.com.
Vino Vino: Vino Vino Wine Market is moving further northward, relocating to 178 Weaverville Highway. The shop is open Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. For more information, call 658-9463.